I found it exceptionally hard to get back into the swing of things after the Challenge this year (probably partly because of the enforced rest I think). So much so I needed another get away and flew off to my sister’s in Worcester for a few days.
Largely speaking, this was a Good Thing. The only slight flies in the ointment were the cats. Cathy has four cats, all of whom are beautiful and lovely but I am allergic to each and every one of them. They play havoc with my asthma. I only resorted to Cetirizine on the second night because I hate the side effects so much, the rest of the time I tried to spend outdoors as much as possible. Considering the rain, this was a damp experience. Worcester is, however, a beautiful city and I did have a lovely time.
Having returned, I felt it was time to get out into the hills, even for just a short walk, but I was persuaded to ‘pop up’ a Corbett, Carn an Freiceadain for a nice day out. Martin had popped up there before the Challenge but I hadn’t been well enough to join him. I think he would have been too fast for me anyway!
We parked near the award-winning public conveniences in Kingussie and set off. It felt very odd to be wearing my Brashers and carrying a daypack! Within the first mile, we found ourselves slightly navigationally embarrassed, not such a good start. I knew exactly where we were and that we were not exactly where we wanted to be, but I knew how to get there. Oops.
Eventually we found ourselves leaving the woodland and heading out onto more open hillside alongside Allt Mor. After only a short time, I had a wobble. I was completely overwhelmed by feelings of despair and gloom. I sat on a nearby rock by the track for a few moments contemplation as the hill ahead disappeared into the clouds.
“You’re not happy, let’s go back, you’re not going to enjoy this today.”
“No, I’m going up that hill.”
I picked myself up, dusted myself off and strode off up the hill.
This went on for a while, with plenty of pauses to take in the view and a lunch stop. The hill popped out from the clouds again and we continued up. A juvenile golden eagle crossed high above the hills and looped behind us, the flash of white under it’s tail and wings being the give away. Several hares ran along the path ahead of us, all the way to the top. A deer appeared on the horizon above us and disappeared again and there were golden plover too.
By the time we reached the steepest tug before the summit, I finally found my Pidgeon Pace and made it all the way to the cairn without a stop. I was a bit pink when I got there mind.
I’d really got into my stride by now and we continued on to take in Beinn Bhreac aswell. The track is quite steep and stony on the downhill and I remembered the last time I’d attempted such a descent each and every step was excruciating. This time, not a hint. Good stuff. On the way, we found a delightful little shooting hut in which to stop for a snack. There was a good store of wood outside for the marvellous stove and an incredible dining table.
We soon found ourselves returning to town, jumping back into the car and going home.
11.5 miles, 2388 ft and 6.5 hrs including breaks.